Errors and error rates in surgical pathology: an Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology survey

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2006 May;130(5):607-9. doi: 10.5858/2006-130-607-EAERIS.


This survey on errors in surgical pathology was commissioned by the Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology Council to explore broad perceptions and definitions of error in surgical pathology among its membership and to get some estimate of the perceived frequency of such errors. Overall, 41 laboratories were surveyed, with 34 responding to a confidential questionnaire. Six small, 13 medium, and 10 large laboratories (based on specimen volume), predominantly located in the United States, were surveyed (the remaining 5 laboratories did not provide this particular information). The survey questions, responses, and associated comments are presented. It is clear from this survey that we lack uniformity and consistency with respect to terminology, definitions, and the identification/documentation of errors in surgical pathology. An appeal is made for the urgent need to reach some consensus in order to address these discrepancies as we prepare to combat the issue of errors in surgical pathology.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Diagnostic Errors* / classification
  • Humans
  • Laboratories / standards*
  • Medical Records
  • Pathology, Surgical / standards*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Societies, Medical